During last year’s cook-off, he volunteered to help his group’s nurse practitioner and her husband, both New Iberia residents, set up their booth and serve gumbo to the public.
“When you encounter another physician or hospital administrator at an event, you always get to know something different about that person,” he says. “When you meet people on a different level at a social event, and exchange phone numbers, your relationship changes in many ways.”
Since he maintains his home in Lafayette, a 30-minute commute away, he wanted to invest time in New Iberia community activities. “One of the reasons I go to these events,” he says, “is so they understand that I’m part of their community here.
“When you meet these people in the hospital after an event, you are seen as more approachable. Especially for hospitalists, we need to build relationships.”
Six years ago, the Dauterive hospital medicine program had 15 contracts with community PCPs. That number is now up to 58.
And when Dr. Bujard retired in 2011, Dr. Nagendran became medical director.
Dr. Grace notes that community involvement can also serve to keep one’s life in balance. Referring to the “systolic/diastolic lifestyle” of hospitalist shifts, he says that “introducing a little bit of community and enjoyment into your down time can also increase job satisfaction during your work time.”
Gretchen Henkel is a freelance writer in San Luis Obispo, Calif.